Preschool & K
updated July 11, 2020


IMPORTANT

The Great Pause -- A Tale for Young Children
by Elizabeth Emmett

a free, non-scary, and appropriate tale you can tell your young child to bring a sense of safety and reassurance around social distancing

This is important! Please share with other families you know with young children!!!!!



I would define Preschool as roughly age 2-5, whereas Kindergarten I see as more age 5-6.

*NEW* Preschool / Kindergarten Waldorf Homeschool - Booklist - 12 GREAT books!
To be specific, this list is for the family who is doing Waldorf for early childhood but not the grades. If you know you are going to move forward to Waldorf grade 1, and beyond, I have a list of Kindy books that also include content for older children. This saves you money in the long run!

If that is you, I suggest building a library over time, starting with my Preschool Curriculum Booklist and adding my Kindergarten Curriculum Booklist a year or two later.


First Grade in Waldorf education comes when the child demonstrates certain physiological signs, not with a birthday, so be sure to look at the Class 1 page for more information.

Teaching Our Children to Read, Write, and Spell: A Developmental Approach Looking at the Relationship of Children's Foundational Neurological Pathways to their Higher Capacities for Learning -- the MUST READ article about how movement now lays the foundation for reading later

Parent Enrichment Reading - great collection of articles
gathered by the Mendocino Waldorf School


A Beautiful Waldorf Playroom - Wishlist
blog post when my son turned 13 months old

What Waldorf Toys Do You REALLY Need?
blog post when my son turned 3 years old

Some great suggestions for fine motor activities!

The Kindness Curriculum (FREE)
from the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I really enjoy the Tinkergarten weekly activity emails! Here are some of my recent favorites:


There's a sweet Tinkergarten blog too called More Than Mudpies:


Due to everyone staying at home for the coronavirus crisis, they've created a new set of PDFs, "Tinkergarten at Home," with very detailed (but still open-ended) activity ideas around a theme. Suggestions are included for age ranges infants/toddlers, preschoolers and up, and school-age kids. These are excellent and if you sign up for their emails you'll get them as they come out.

*NEW* How A Lobster Can Help Teach Your Kids Social Distance blog post & really fun lesson plan


I wish they had done more issues on schema, since these universal patterns of play are so fascinating! Here's their list of behavioral schema, with more details on each in the article on their website:

    Transporting

    Rotation/Circulation

    Trajectory

    Positioning

    Enveloping/Enclosing

    Connecting

    Transforming


Then in June 2020 they created an at-home Summer Camp with 8 weeks of activities for your family. They have different handouts for different age groups (babies 6-18 months, toddlers 18 months - 3 years, preschoolers 3-5 years, school age 5 years and older). I am linking to the Preschool ones here.

If you sign up for their emails you'll get the links as they come out each week, and you'll be able to download other age groups if you wish:


I do like the work that Tinkergarten does. It is usually a really pricey program to partake in, so I appreciate that they've taken all of their passion and research around universal themes of play in children around the world and turned it into FREE resources that all families can use, regardless of their income level, the ages of their children, or whether they are in an urban/suburban/rural location.

Sharing info and promoting healthy play is so important, especially as families staying at home more than usual may be running out of ideas. The folks at Tinkergarten always focus on creative independent open-ended and non-compulsory explorations, and introduce them with story. Lovely!


Important Reading on the Value of Play:


If you're looking for a gift for a new mom, a gift for yourself, or a parent book group suggestion that is not about a specific curriculum but about child development and healthy family rhythms, I strongly recommend Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela Hanscom.

It's written by a pediatric OT. I've used it as a book group book; I know Waldorf schools have as well. It is really wonderful. Inspirational. Not preachy. Full of ideas. And timely. Especially for people to give themselves permission to just let their children go play in their yards!!!!


New Preschool Program "I have heard Waldorf is wonderful and I really want to try it with my young child, but I don't know anything about it. I'm really just learning. Where do I begin?"

Having been doing Waldorf for over thirteen years, I have new and different ideas about how to go about it from the way I began; however, I am keeping my old curriculum on the site as well as many families find it useful in their transition to Waldorf.

For my old lesson plans, including 6 week units and newsletter topics, see the links to the left.

For my new list of the essential books & supplies and how to go about "homeschooling" with Waldorf for ages 2 and up, please click here: New Preschool Program.

Sample Preschool Co-op Schedule - Monday and Thursday (PDF)

Starting a Waldorf Preschool Co-op - Booklist, Schedule, and Notes on Playthings to Make/Buy

Waldorf Preschool Suggestions - September


Looking for help with Circle Time? Here are some complete Waldorf circles available online in PDF form:


Notes from leading up to "doing school" with Zac when he turned 3, aka Picnic & Play, Summer 2018


Blog posts from teaching Early Childhood (ages 3-6) in our homeschool co-op, 2018-2019


Blog posts from teaching Early Childhood (ages 3-6) in our homeschool co-op, 2019-2020


Storytelling / Puppetry in Waldorf Early Childhood

Guest Blog Post by Madrone d'Ardenne


I cannot do better than to share my notes from several workshops I've taken with Suzanne Down of Juniper Tree Puppetry Arts, the master at Waldorf storytelling and therapeutic puppetry in early childhood, to help you picture what Storytelling and Puppetry look like in action in a Waldorf classroom.

My notes include my initial experiences with needle felting, and step by step instructions for creating several puppets, as well as how to tell the stories.


I went from this experience with Suzanne Down to her week long puppetry workshop July 8 - 12, 2009: "The Sense of Touch and Warmth: Puppetry as Bridge for these Foundations for Life" at the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten; Boulder CO (which I drove to from Maryland, I was so excited to work with her) and those notes are in the blog in several posts. Please visit the links below.

This is where I learned how to make a rod puppet. Our focus was on the Mother archetype:

I HIGHLY recommend all of her work. If she offers a workshop near you, do NOT hesitate. I also suggest signing up for her free monthly email newsletter. It always includes a gentle seasonal story. Here is an example: "The Blessing Cake: A New Year Story"


The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

which Suzanne Down recommends as an essential resource


Old Preschool Program

These were my personal lesson plans as my children and I transitioned into Waldorf way back in 2005.

I offer them here in case they are helpful to other families going through the same process but they are merely suggestions and NOT a prescription. Feel free to substitute books and activities based on what you have at home. Click here, or use the links to the left, to see the Old Preschool Program.


Kindergarten

Early Childhood Library

"Tell Me a Story" Book Review

If you plan on spending what Live Ed charges for their Kindy program, but want more content for your dollar spent, I have put together a Kindergarten Curriculum Booklist

This is part of my goal to create comprehensive booklists for each grade level which contain 12 books. The list of a dozen books (builds upon the "New Preschool Program" above but can also be used on its own) will give you an excellent Early Childhood library!


The following are some miscellaneous curriculum resources available online:


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